Breaking Down the Barriers to LGBTQ Equality: Love and Let Love
The program aims to raise awareness on marriage equality and anti-discrimination legislation in the U.S. and Japan in celebration of Pride month.
The movement for the full equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and for Marriage Equality is international. In the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the right to marry for same-sex couples is a fundamental right and that the federal government and states must recognize such marriages in the landmark cases U.S. v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744 (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015). And recently in Bostock v Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S.Ct. 1731 (2020), the Supreme Court held that under the federal employment nondiscrimination law that discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is sex discrimination. In the U.S. Congress there has been a decades-long push for federal anti-discrimination protections culminating in the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity at work and in the context of housing, credit, education, and jury service.
In Japan, advocates continue to fight for LGBTQ rights in the courts and at the Diet, Japan's bicameral legislature. On March 17, 2021, the Sapporo District Court rendered a significant decision holding that the failure to recognize marriage equality violates the principle of equality in Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution (i.e., “All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.”) — the first time a court in Japan ruled directly on the constitutionality of marriage equality in Japan. Plaintiffs across Japan are seeking marriage equality and litigation is pending in five district courts across Japan (Sapporo, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka).
At the same time, advocates are lobbying for the LGBT Equality Act, to protect LGBT people from discrimination and abuse, at the Diet. Japan currently ranks 34th out of 35 OECD countries based on its current LGBTQ laws.
A panel of four experts, two from the United States, and two from Japan, will discuss the history/status of LGBTQ movements in their respective countries as well as the rights at issue and arguments in support of marriage equality and anti-discrimination protections. They will also provide updates on the legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress and at the Diet. Finally, the panel will share how their successes and setbacks can help inform advocacy in both the U.S. and Japan as well as other countries.
The panel includes (a) Mr. Christopher Riano, who, among others, teaches Constitutional Law and Government at Columbia University, and is the author of Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws; (b) Ms. Jennifer C. Pizer, who, among others, was lead counsel in Majors v. Jeanes, the federal case that defeated Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriages, and co-counsel in the case that won same-sex marriage rights in California in 2008, and at Law and Policy at Lambda Legal has led efforts in support of the Equality Act; (c) Mr. Naosuke Fujita, a co-representative director and co-founder of Lawyers for LGBT & Allies Network (LLAN), and who has been very actively involved with Marriage for All Japan, the group of lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the marriage equality lawsuit in Japan as well as the equality bill before the Diet; and (d) Ms. Kaoru Umino, one of the other directors of LLAN, who is also active in LGBTQ advocacy activities.
The presentations will be followed by a roundtable discussion among the speakers with time for audience questions.
- June 24, 2021
- Online On-Demand